However, all her efforts proved futile, Daisy lost her mum some months later, she felt her world crumble. She was a little fortunate that she had completed her registration at Boston University and was a fresher reading Nursing there before her mum’s death, now she worried about her chance of ever completing her education, considering the fact that most of the money for her schooling had gone down the drain. Daisy considered herself an orphan, she held no grudge anymore against her mum but transferred it to her father, reasoning that he and his people caused her mum to come live far away from home thereby making her prey to death. If Daisy thought her nightmare was over, she was mistaken ‘cos months after the death of her mother, her mother’s husband started making advances towards, his excuse was that he’d always have a thing for African beauties and Daisy looked so much like her mother, therefore she could continue where she stopped while he would provide for her always.
Daisy could not be more angry and repulsed at his offers and one day, she quietly packed all her things out of his house to go see what the future holds for her.
Daisy, now living more like a destitute was switching between two jobs, working as a part time cook and a waiter at an African restaurant there in Boston, due to the nature of her job, she changed over to part time in her school in other to meet up with the demands of her job and her education. It was while working at the restaurant oneday that she met Mrs Bimpe Olukoya.
Mama took a liking to the young African lady who had a sadness about her inspite of her open cheerfulness and she was curious to know what her story was. Experience had taught her that most Africans who found their way to America had a story or two to tell.
When they finally got talking, Daisy intrigued her the more, she found out the sorrow that trailed her and her attempts at surviving, she also loved that Daisy was technically yoruba and spoke the language fluently too and she was moved to compassion for her. One thing led to another and they became good friends, the elderly woman decided to strike a deal with the younger: she wanted Daisy to resume full time at the College, to drop her job with the restaurant and come work for her part time as a ‘practicing’ nurse. While she contributed to Daisy’s education and Daisy could pay her in the future when she graduated and was working.
Daisy was elated, it seemed fate wasn’t really cruel to her again, she accepted the offer and promised to pay back the money as soon as she could. She however secretly kept the cooking job because cooking was one of her passions, though she bargained for lesser days and shorter time.
Mama later got to know of it, but she didn’t seem to mind. And so, their relationship went beyond nurse and patient affair, Daisy was family and like a daughter to mama and soon she became her unofficial assistant, helping her run errands for the company. Mama was the over seas representative of the Family company down in Nigeria, she took care of the purchase and exportation of the household items in which the Olukoyas company deal on and Daisy naturally offered assistance wherever she could, but still maintaining her job as mama fussy nurse. Since Daisy practically was family, Mama introduced her to her son and his children down in Nigeria, it wasn’t a physical introduction per se, just through conversations, anecdotes and photographs, Daisy gathered that Jide was the stubborn and favourite grandchild of mama and that had intrigued her young heart.
When she eventually set her sights on a picture of Jide amongst the album mama kept and showed her, he caught her fancy the more and unconsciously held her heart, she never knew she had fallen blindly for him, until when years later he had visited Boston for official reasons, Daisy who was 22 then, saw her Picture idol come to life and that had cemented and strengthened the feeling, she knew then that she was sold out completely to the handsome, stubborn, arrogant man who was so sure of himself.
Jide on his part, wasn’t any particular about Mama’s little assistant, he was simply civil to her the very few times they met in mama’s house, but then he only stayed a week before traveling back to Nigeria, America and its fancy wild girls held no allure for him and he was glad to be done and off with.
Daisy however felt more, Jide was the perfect man she felt could rescue her and give her the fulfilment she had long craved, she let her young heart dream on and on about him. She became mildly absorbed with fantasies of him, so much so that she had secretly stolen that picture of Jide and stashed it away for keeps.
When she wasn’t into bickering and girls stuff with Brenda or running around and taking care of Mama, keeping up with her studies or trying to make her relationship work with Peter, she was busy building up fantasies of Jide and her. Even though Daisy was matured enough to know that at her age, she should be able to tell the difference between love and infatuation, she cared not neither did she try piece the difference when it concerns Jide.
It was years later, that Brenda caught on to her friends secret admiration and she very well didn’t approve of it, to her, it was so pointless that a pretty and matured girl like Daisy should waste her precious time pinning over a guy that wasn’t aware of her affections nor was guaranteed to return them if he ever knew. But Daisy always got defensive when she tried to set her straight and since it became a bone of contention in their friendship, Brenda just allowed the matter slide. It wasn’t worth it for it was Daisy’s life and most definitely her heart which would receive the heartbreak when the time comes. She reasoned.
However, Brenda let go of the issue only too late after mama got wind of the situation, it had first amused her and she had hoped Daisy would snap out of the illusion. But when reports of Jide’s bachelor behaviour filtered in. Her diagnosis was to get Jide settled down and the most appropriate candidate was her very own Daisy. She counted on Daisy easy acceptance but hadn’t anticipated that strong opposition would come from her dear favourite grandson, Jide.
Daisy stretched lazily on the sleeping chair close to the swimming pool. She had had an hour bout of lazy swimming and now lay facing the sky, intermittently sipping from the glass of orange juice that nestled on the table close by.
‘Life can be good sometimes’ she murmured contentedly, raised herself up slightly and sipped once more from her juice. Lying back, she caught the gateman Adamu, staring at her.
When their eyes met, Adamu looked away immediately and fondled with the broom he was holding in pretence of sweeping. Daisy grinned and stretched further on her back, she couldn’t care less if he stole a glance or two at her.
Daisy: ‘so long as he can’t touch, Let him indulge himself’ she thought.
Daisy knew she had the right curves to turn masculine heads anytime. With a skin like the evening sun, a heart-shaped face and a pair of eyes which Peter had once described as ‘deep and innocent’, Daisy knew that both old and young men would fall for her charm, if she ever set her mind to, but charming men wasn’t particularly one of her passions, especially when she knew that the charm couldnt capture the attention of the only one man in the world that her soul craved. So what was it use?
Daisy mood became threatened by the road her thoughts were taking, why did thinking about him these days not hold so much ‘lily flowered-fantasies’ it previously had? She wondered.
It was now three weeks into their marriage and they were still like total strangers, he had only recently started eating the food she painstakingly prepared and kept for him consistently daily. She had been all surprised and hopeful the Tuesday she had perfunctorily gone to clear the dining, knowing fully well that it would be the way she had set it earlier.
‘So he had finally decided to eat’ she had exclaimed happily. The fried eggs was half eaten and the bread nylon was undone, proving her right, if it had been Monday she would have thought Okon had helped himself to it, because he had always been the lucky beneficiary of Jide’s untouched meal, but it wasn’t! Daisy had remained cheerful throughout that day, even taking extra pain in preparing the dinner of that night. She had also gotten a reward for her effort too, because he downed every bit.
Daisy: ‘what an appetite!’ She had said, satisfied with herself and thanking her stars that they was a tiny light to work with afterall. But that was where it had ended. Nothing changed. None said anything to anyone. The few times she had tried saying ‘hi’, the silent response she got had put her off, finally she stopped trying. Daisy knew her life was downright monotous. Wake up by Six. cook. Bath. Watch movies or whatever. Chat with Okon whenever he came. Surf the web with her phone whenever she was bored or reading interesting stories from www.adeLove.com. Listen to the endless music on her phone. Cook dinner. Sleep. Wake up for midnight for her juice-dose. And back to waking up at 6.
Daisy smiled sadly as she mentally listed her life’s routine, ‘circle of the bored’, she tagged it. Add occasional swimming she mused and you would have the life of Daisy Olukoya at your fingertips. No action, no lovemaking, no petting, no care, no love! No companion too. She completed.
Mama had visited last week to intimate her of her trip back to Boston because business calls. Daisy had sadly wished the elderly woman a safe trip back. She understood quite alright, but was sad to see her ‘mother’ go, she would definitely miss her. Mama had promised to keep intouch too, the loss of her ‘assistant’ wasn’t easy too and she felt like a grandmother going to one of those ‘homes for the aged’ that characterised American family life. Daisy mood was now totally ruined, she slowly stood up, tied the transparent scarf over her moderate swim wear, for it covered her perfectly while still flattering her figures.
Daisy: ‘that’s all swimming for today’ she muttered and picked up her the glass of juice, then bounded off for the house. Today was Friday, she needed to plan her Saturday purchase for the market tomorrow. Especially now that Jide had started eating his meals.
Those thoughts of mama brought back memories of another time and another place, barely a few months ago but now seemed like a thousand years had passed. It was the day mama had broached the marriage issue to her, and slowly but vividly her mind replayed the scene.
Daisy: ‘Why are you up till now? It Ain’t good for your health you know’ Daisy said as she made her way to the back of the chair mama sat.
She was spending the weekend at Mama’s residence, it had been a routine since her sophomore year, and though now she has graduated and even working, the tradition still stuck.
Daisy had been watching a late night movie when she noticed light rays from Mama’s study, she had then decided to go check on her since the movie had also ended.
Mama: ‘am stronger than you think’ mama replied smiling, her eyes shut as she relished the pleasure from Daisy’s hand massaging her shoulders.
Daisy: ‘its midnight already, you need rest.’Daisy replied continuing her act.
Daisy: ‘or did a new order arrive from Nigeria?’ she added. Mama always worked into the night whenever that happened.
Mama: ‘yeah, that and a lot more’ replied Mama sitting up.
Daisy stopped the massage. She had sensed something was amidst through out the day. Mama wasn’t her cheerful self. And now her words just confirmed it. Daisy walked past mama, drew a chair and sat close to her.
Daisy: ‘I know something is wrong, why don’t you tell me what it is?’ she said.
Mama gave a painful smile, took down her reading glass and cast a glance at Daisy. Her expression unreadable. Daisy pulse raised involuntarily, she was worried.
Mama: ‘Daisy Omo mi…’ she began ‘i don’t know how to put this across to you…’
Daisy heart beat faster, that was a bad line to start with, the two women were so close that no secret existed between them, why was Mama sounding like that! Daisy made to speak, but mama shook her head signaling her to stop.
Mama: ‘jó kin soro tan’ (please, let me finish speaking) she said. Silence ensued for what seemed like hours to Daisy, she was beside herself with worries, different thoughts coursed through her mind and she couldn’t rein in her desperation. Mama spoke then.
Mama: ‘My son, called me just yesterday from Nigeria, it doesn’t seem ok over there. Jide…’
Daisy: ‘Jide what happened to him? Hope he’s …’ Daisy cut in.
Mama smiled shaking her head. It wasn’t going to be hard afterall, she thought.
Mama: ‘Daisy, ni suru, mo ni pe ko Je kin soro tan’ mama calmed the agitated girl. (Daisy be calm, i told you to allow me finish)
Mama: ‘quite alright, Jide is the reason for this discussion now, but nothing bad as you think has happened to him. omo jati jati yen wa da da ni, tori yen lon fin she yeye si nigeria’ mama said raising her voice in the last statement. (that silly boy is very fine, and that’s the reason he’s misbehaving in Nigeria).
Daisy heaved a sigh of relief. Her man of dream was okay, then what was wrong she thought. Mama continued.
Mama: ‘my son called me, and he was relaying to me how irresponsible Jide has become, especially with women, Jide ngbe awon Omo oloriburuku obirin to po si ile eko!(jide mingles with iresponsible women that are all over Lagos) can you imagine that, at his age, he’s not settled down, omo mi Adekanbi was married and has given birth to him and his brother at that age. Yet he feels sleeping around is best for him…’mama was shaking with anger now.
Daisy: ‘pls calm down mama, are you sure of this…’ Daisy cut in, she was hurting with all mama was revealing and still worried over her working herself up because of her health.
But Mama was not deterred. There really was no stopping her when she became like this.
Mama: ‘…ofcourse am sure! And to think his father and i are working hard to see the company grow and see that our family name is untainted, yet he disobeys him and even refuse to come to work, he keeps late night, going from club to club, dancing around his life! ah! Ko ni da fun gbogbo won, i swear!’ (it will not be well with all of them) mama completed heaving with anger and a tear stained eyes.
Daisy watched on quietly, she was heartbroken, the picture mama had painted made her feel Jide was actually cheating on her. A tear rolled down her cheeks. Mama saw the tear and held her hand gently.
Mama: ‘Daisy omo mi, ma ke’ (my child do not cry).
Daisy: ‘its okay, am fine…’ daisy replied with a weak smile, there wasn’t any plausible reason why should she be crying over the issue, how would mama take it, it wasn’t as if jide was married to her or something. Only she knew her secret fantasy, what she should do now was console mama and not bloody cry! She wiped her tears.
Daisy: ‘am really fine, am worried about you that’s all’. She added and looked down
Mama considered the younger woman for some seconds, Daisy actually crying confirmed what she already knew and she was secretly glad because it meant her plan would perfectly work.
Mama: ‘crying would not solve OUR problem you know…’she said. Daisy looked up then to find Mama smiling and staring at her. She was confused.
Mama: ‘i know you like him, i know everything, even though its recent’. She continued
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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